United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani United States District Judge.
Gregory Altenbach ("Plaintiff'), a former
Pennsylvania state inmate who, at all times relevant, was
housed at the Benner Township State Correctional Institution,
in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, ("SCI-Benner"),
commenced this action on December 23, 2014 pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). The matter is proceeding
via an amended complaint (Doc. 11) wherein Altenbach
names the following Defendants; Dave Link, Tammy Ferguson,
and Dave Smead. Altenbach alleges that his Eighth Amendment
right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was
violated because he was subjected to constant illumination in
the restricted housing unit, ("RHU"), at
April 23, 2015, Defendants filed an answer to the complaint.
(Doc. 21). Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs motion
for leave to filed a second amended complaint. (Doc. 70). In
his motion, Plaintiff seeks to add three new Defendants and
to dismiss one of the original three Defendants.
(Id.). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs
motion will be granted.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15, a party may amend its
pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days of serving
it or 21 days after the service of a responsive pleading or
motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). In all other circumstances, a party
may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's
written consent or with leave of court. Fed.R.Civ.P.
15(a)(2). Rule 15 embodies a liberal approach to amendment
and specifies that leave shall be freely given when justice
so requires." Dole v. Arco Chemical Co., 921
F.2d 484, 486-87 (3d Cir. 1990); Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(2).
"An applicant seeking leave to amend a pleading has the
burden of showing that justice requires the amendment."
Katzenmoyer v. City of Reading, 158 F.Supp.2d 491,
497 (E.D. Pa. 2001); see Garvin v. City of Phila.,
354 F.3d 215, 222 (3d Cir. 2003) (explaining that a plaintiff
must show that the elements of Rule 15(c) are met in order to
change the party or the naming of the party against whom
claims are asserted).
policy favoring liberal amendment of pleadings is not,
however, unbounded." Dole, 921 F.2d at 487.
Factors which may weigh against amendment include "undue
delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the
movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments
previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by
virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182(1962).
is futile when the claim sought to be added would be barred
by the statute of limitations. See Garvin, 354 F.3d
at 219. However, an amendment of a pleading that changes the
party or the naming of the party will relate back to the date
of the original pleading and therefore will not be barred by
the statute of limitations when the requirements of Rule
15(c)(1)(C) are met. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)
(c) Relation Back of Amendments.
(1) When an Amendment Relates Back. An amendment to a
pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading
(A) the law that provides the applicable statute of
limitations allows relation back;
(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out
of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out--or
attempted to be set out-in the original pleading; or
(C) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the
party against whom a claim is asserted, if Rule 15(c)(1)(B)
is satisfied and if, within the period provided by Rule 4(m)
for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be
brought in by amendment:
(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be
prejudiced in defending ...